Citing nominee Tim Sullivan’s labor record, the head of Building Trades Labor in New Jersey has a problem with Governor Phil Murphy’s choice to head the Economic Development Authority (EDA), and today fired off a letter to lawmakers urging them to block Murphy’s pick.
The letter speaks directly to the ongoing rift between Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), an ironworker who’s built his political career in large measure with the support of Building Trades Labor.
“The first of many knife fights [between Senate President Steve Sweeney and Murphy],” a source told InsiderNJ, in reference to today’s letter penned by Bill Mullen, the president of the New Jersey Building Trades.
It actually might be more like the fourth or fifth such skirmish between Murphy and Sweeney, who first came into contact with each other when they both ran for governor – a joust Murphy ultimately won, which clearly wounded Sweeney.
Earlier this week, Murphy tapped Sullivan, the current Deputy Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to head the EDA here in New Jersey.
The choice does not require confirmation by the state senate, but a thumbs up from the EDA Board.
Mullen wants to stop Sullivan in his tracks.
The NJ labor leader said he talked to contacts in the National and Connecticut Building Trades and their Foundation for Fair Contracting. Based on those discussions, he sent his letter notifying NJ lawmakers that he’s convinced Sullivan is “anti-Building Trades” and opposed to prevailing wage expansion.
“He has been actively meeting with the Connecticut Department of Labor seeking loopholes to get around the current Davis Bacon Laws in effect and the enforcement of those laws as it pertains to his Department,” Mullen wrote of Sullivan.
“We do not need a Tim Sullivan here in New Jersey,” the Building Trades skipper added. “Tim Sullivan is the worst kind of Anti-Building Trades Legislator because although we already have these protection laws in place in New Jersey he is apparently willing to seek to circumvent them.
“That is something we cannot risk here and that our Governor should never condone or tolerate. Please contract the Governor all of our legislators and let them know that we are emphatically opposed to Tim Sullivan’s appointment to the NJ EDA.”
Mullen and Murphy were in close proximity on Election Day of last year, when Murphy showed up at Sweeney’s morning GOTV rally.
On that occasion, Mullen criticized New Jersey Education President Marie Blistan, whose Murphy-friendly organization pumped millions unto trying to dislodge Sweeney from the legislature.
“What the NJEA has done is shit,” Mullen bellowed into a bullhorn, sounding an ominous tone above a sea of Building Trades GOTV soldiers committed to reelecting Sweeney, which they did.